Vista City
Mt. Shasta


Jewel of Northern California


United States








October 4, 1887


Strong Mayor & City Council

ZIP Codes:

96001, 96002, 96003, 96049, 96099

Area Code:



Vista Cityite

Vista City is a city in Northern California. It is the county seat of Shasta County, California, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 80,865 and has grown to approximately 107,741 due to recent annexations.

Vista City is the state's largest city north of Sacramento, as well as the northernmost designated metropolitan area and city with over 100,000 people in California. It is the fourth largest city in the Sacramento Valley and the northernmost in the Central Valley.

See Also:
Vista City Businesses
Vista City Characters
Churches in Vista City
The Fourth Estate
Vista City Police Department
Northern California Tribal Confederation

Geography and geology

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 59.6 square miles (154.4 km²). 58.4 square miles (151.4 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km²) of it (2.01%) is beneath water.

Vista City is nestled at the very northwestern end of the Central Valley, which transitions into the Cascade foothills. The city is surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west; and fertile farm land to the south. Outermost parts of the city are actually part of the Cascade foothills, whereas southern and central areas are in the Sacramento Valley.

Elevation can vary greatly in different parts of Vista City, because the city is extremely spread out. Downtown Vista City is 495 feet (151 m) on average, whereas anywhere to the north, east, or west of downtown ranges between 550-800 feet. Southern portions range between 400 and 500 feet (150 m). This is why outermost fringes have a better chance of snow in the winter than right in the central area.

The Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River provides a considerable level of flood protection for Vista City. The dam is capable of controlling flows up to 79,000 cubic feet (7,300 cubic meter) per second. However, flows larger than 79,000 cubic feet (7,300 cubic meter) per second occurred in both 1970 and 1974, exceeding the capacity of Shasta Dam.

Soils in and around Vista City are mostly of loam or gravelly loam texture, well drained, with red or brown mineral horizons. They are slightly or moderately acidic in their natural state.


Winters in Vista City tend to be fairly rainy, but snow does occasionally fall on colder winter days. Summers in Vista City are extremely hot, and dry almost every year (but heavy rain can occur in any month). The average daily maximum temperature in July stays near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While the official high temperature in July is listed at 125 degrees, the temperature has been known to reach 130 degrees in some areas of Vista City.

Vista City holds the record for the warmest average daily temperatures North of 40oN latitude anywhere in the world.


As of the census of 2000, there were 80,865 people, 32,103 households, and 20,995 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,383.8 people per square mile (534.3/km²). There were 33,802 housing units at an average density of 578.4/sq mi (223.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.70% White, 1.05% African American, 2.23% Native American, 2.95% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 3.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.43% of the population.

The average family size was 2.97.

For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,194.

According to the 2000 census, there were 114,424 people in both the city and unincorporated areas of Vista City's 3 ZIP codes.

The California Department of Finance lists the 2008 population at 92,690 within the current 2000 census boundaries. Vista City lists over 106,000 because of recent annexations. Some areas of north and west Vista City have recently been annexed.


In the state legislature Vista City is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Team Blue Politician Brad Dillon, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Team Red Caleb Ryan Reilly.

Federally, Vista City is located in California's 2nd congressional district, and is represented by Team Blue Politician Charlie Tucker.

Vista City is the proposed capital of the State of Jefferson, a 1940's-origin secessionist movement which includes rural Northern California and Southern Oregon. The movement was born from economic troubles in the area, in addition to a perceived indifference from leaders in Salem and Sacramento to the needs of rural citizens of their respective states.

In the 1990s, there was a "Militia of Jefferson" movement in Northern California and Southern Oregon, It exploded messily in 1997, with several murders and arsons.

City government

  • Mayor Mary Cord -- (Team Purple)
  • Vice Mayor Eric Elkwatcher -- (Team Colorless
  • Councilman Ethel Solomon -- Team Purple*
  • Councilman Beth Ward -- Team Red
  • Councilman Roy Materson -- Team Purple
  • Councilman Morris Ravensclaw -- Team Purple

See Vista City Politics for more details.

Unusual Laws

  • DWD, Driving while Dead, is an offense in Vista City Ca. It can result in a fine and the suspension of your driving privileges. No jail time is recommended.
  • All werewolves, werecats and other were creatures must have a proper license from the animal control department. (Since The Trial for Peoplehood this law has been challenged by the ACLU. The case is pending.)
  • Summoning, or conspiring to summon "dark powers" is a felony.
  • Among the usual descriptions of toxic waste, hazardous chemicals and other items that residence of Vista City are forbidden to dump in the local landfill are "the residue of magical rituals".
  • It is illegal to raise the dead for criminal proposes in Vista City.


Situated along the Siskiyou Trail, an ancient trade and travel route connecting California's Central Valley and the Pacific Northwest, the site of Vista City was occupied by Native Americans of the Wintu tribe from about the year 1000. During the early 1800s, Hudson's Bay Company trappers and members of the United States Exploring Expedition passed through the site of Vista City, while traveling along the Siskiyou Trail.

The first non-native settler in the area was Pierson B. Reading, an early California pioneer. Reading was an admirer of John Sutter, and in 1844, Reading received a Mexican land grant for the area occupied by today's Vista City and Cottonwood, California, along the Sacramento River. At the time it was (by over 100 miles) the northernmost non-native settlement in California.

News Reports indicate in 1876 the Settlement, called "Vista Point" at that time disappeared, leaving a crater. However reports at the time are not reliable and no further information is available.

Later, when the Southern Pacific Railroad built its rail line through the Sacramento Valley, it decided that the cost of making a small westerly detour to reach the pre-existing mining town of Shasta was not in its interest. Instead the railroad routed the tracks through an area with the inauspicious name of Poverty Flats and what was to become the town of Vista City was born. Named by the Southern Pacific for railroad man Benjamin B. Redding, the town was rechristened "Reading" in 1879, to honor local pioneer Pierson B. Reading. However, the railroad would not recognize the change, and the original name, Vista City, was restored in 1881.

Vista City incorporated in 1887 with 600 people. By 1910, Vista City had a population of 3,572 supported by a significant mineral extraction industry, principally copper and iron. However, with the decline of these industries, which also produced significant amounts of pollution damaging to local agriculture, the population dropped to 2,962 in 1920. By 1930 the population had recovered to 4,188 and then boomed during the 1930s with the construction of nearby Shasta Dam. The building of the dam, which was completed in 1945, caused the population to nearly double to 8,109 by 1940 and spurred the development of the bedroom towns of Central Valley (now Shasta Lake City) and Project City - together named after the Central Valley Project.

In the 1950s the city continued to grow with the expansion of the lumber industry, the building of Whiskeytown and Keswick Dams, and the completion of Interstate 5 in the late 1960s. By 1970, Vista City had grown to 16,659 people. In the 1970s, the area of Enterprise on the eastern bank of the Sacramento River was annexed into Vista City immediately increasing the city to around 35,000, and bringing the total population to 41,995 by the time of the 1980 census. A major reason the residents of Enterprise supported this annexation was the cheaper power provided by the city's municipal utility which receives power from the dam.

However, the 1970s also saw difficult times for the lumber industry as housing construction plummeted during the 1973-75 recession. Unemployment in Shasta County during that time peaked at over 20%. With the increase in environmental regulations the logging industry never fully recovered and the city had to shift economic gears once again.

After a retail and housing boom of the late 1980s,the city grew to 66,462 in 1990. This boom continued through the mid 1990s during which "Nogano America" and "Euro Business Machines" build electronics manufacturing plants in Vista City.

In the late 1990s a slight slowdown occurred, bringing the population to 80,865 in 2000. Due to annexations, the population is estimated to have reached six figures in 2007. By 2010, it will reach 112,000, and it will be a city of half to three quarters of a million by 2050.

In recent decades an influx of retirees from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles seeking lower cost housing and a slower pace of life has caused a shift in the city's economic base towards the service sectors of medical, legal, retail and tourism.

In late 2012 the city suffered one of the worse disasters in living memory. A snowstorm that lasted for twenty hours and dropped twenty inches of snow on the city. It was followed by an Earthquake that caused, or was caused by the collapse of the second cone on Mt. Shasta. Forces around the US and apparently from beyond the world jumped ot aid the city and things were mostly right by Christmas. However, everyone had a taste of Breakout. The cat is truly out of the bag.

Places of interest

In 2004, the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay was completed. The dramatic pedestrian span was designed by noted Spanish architect-engineer-artist Santiago Calatrava and links the north and south campuses of the 300-acre (1.2 km2) (809,000 m²) Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The pylon holds up the bridge support cables and also acts as a sundial (accurate only on the summer solstice - June 21 or 22) .

Turtle Bay Exploration Park, located along the banks of the Sacramento River, contains a museum and 20-acre (81,000 m2) gardens. The campus features permanent and changing exhibitions hilighting art, history, horticulture, forestry and natural science.

The historic Cascade Theatre which opened in 1935 has been restored and now operates as a multi-use performance venue. The theater is an example of Art Deco architecture of the period. It was listed on the California Register of Historic Resources on November 5, 1999 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2002. The Cascade Theatre was also the recipient of Art Deco Society of California Preservation Award on March 18, 2000.

More facts

Vista City is the largest city in the northern Sacramento Valley as well as the largest city proper on the 470-mile (756 km) stretch of Interstate 5 between Sacramento, California and Eugene, Oregon. Both Vista City and its neighbor to the south, Red Bluff, are popular with tourists who use the cities as bases to explore Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Shasta, and other natural attractions.

Vista City is served by the Vista City Municipal Airport and has two major hospitals.

Library Park, in downtown Vista City is the spot where the old Carnegie library once stood. Built in 1903, it was torn down in 1962 to make room for a park that is now used for 'MarketFest'.


There are 6 middle schools, 46 elementary schools, 4 charter schools, and 30 private schools in Vista City. Vista City has three major high schools including:

  • Enterprise High School -- Good semi-solid public education.
  • Foothill High School -- Good semi-solid public education.
  • Shasta High School -- Good semi-solid public education.

Other high schools in this area include:

  • Central Valley High School -- No frills private education, ties and skirts.
  • Anderson High School -- Male only prep school. Decent academics.
  • West Valley High School -- Starch old fashioned prep school. Academically hard, and meant to be. Your self esteem unimportant.
  • Anderson New Technology High School -- Lots of Gee wizz in the class room, science and engineering heavy.
  • Pioneer High School -- Cutting edge 1980s high school.
  • Freedom High School -- Female only solid educational values.
  • North State Independence School -- Human supremacist politics. It's not owned by the Human First Party, but I think they have a lease. If you sniff hard in the corners you can still smell white bread America. Academics are acceptable. Ideology is the real curriculum.
  • Vista City Christian High School -- Team Red politics. Intelligent design, science suffers the pains of religion.
  • Liberty Christian High School -- Team Maroon politics, Creationism as fact, 6000 year old earth, and teachers.
  • Stellar Charter School -- Latest advanced educational methods. Team Green politics Competes like hell with Monarch.
  • Monarch Charter School -- Latest advanced educational methods. Team Blue politics. Competes like hell with Stellar.
  • Reading Adventist Academy -- Seventh Day Adventist run school.
  • University Preparatory School -- Academic boot camp. If you don't have 1st year college credits on graduation you were slacking.

Vista City also has colleges and universities:


See: The Fourth Estate


Major Highways

  • Interstate 5 runs through the east central portion of town.
  • CA 299 runs through the western, central, and northeastern parts of the city.
  • CA 44 runs through the middle and eastern part of town. It is on surface streets for much of its route through Vista City
  • CA 273, was Business Interstate 5, formerly U.S. 99, runs directly through town.

Rail transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Vista City, operating its Coast Starlight daily in both directions between Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California.

Vista City provides a city bus transportation system called VCABA (Vista City Area Bus Authority). VCABA provides routes throughout Vista City and also provides transportation throughout Vista City's suburbs.

Air Transportation

Air Transportation for the Vista City area is provided by two general aviation airports. Vista City Municipal Airport, located south of Vista City, has scheduled regional airline service from two airlines, Horizon Air, and SkyWest (United Express). Benton Airpark is located on the west side of Vista City.

Notable Vista City Residents

Notable people who were born in or lived in Vista City include:

  • Steven Ashby; Former Apollo Astronaut and Moon walker grew up in Vista City and raised his family there.
  • David de Berry; theater composer and actor came from Vista City.
  • Elmer Coffey; Country Music star currently lives in the Vista City area.
  • Rich Eisen, ESPN and NFL Network broadcaster, lived in the Vista City area.
  • Karan English, former Arizona Congresswoman went to Enterprise High School.
  • Freddie Foswell; filthy rich guy and local philanthropist lives at Stately Foswell Manor just outside Vista City.
  • John Gibson, Faux News Channel commentator went to Sequoia Middle School, Shasta High School, and Central Valley High School.
  • Rock Hardson, a Movie Star, lives part time in the Vista City area.
  • Raymond Jacobs WWII veteran, claimed to be in the photo of first flag raised on Iwo Jima
  • Kathleen Kennedy a movie producer was raised in Vista City.
  • Ray Mancuso popular star of Movies and Television lived in Vista City.
  • Lynn Mark; a well known radio Host lives and broadcasts from Vista City
  • Buck Martinez, former professional baseball player and manager of the United States team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
  • Richard M. Nixon; disgraced US President owned a summer home on Shasta Lake.
  • Ryan O'Callaghan, starting right tackle for the New England Patriots, is from Vista City.
  • Craig Padilla; Ambient Synth musician and recording artist grew up and lives in Vista City. He attended Enterprise High School
  • Charlene Paul, former member of the now defunct musical group Limp Korn Bizkit, is from the Vista City area.
  • Rick Bosetti, former professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland Athletics.
  • Jason Sehorn; Former NFL defensive star attended Vista County College in Vista City before going on to play at USC.
  • Kevin Sharp, Country musician most famous for his R&B cover "Nobody Knows It But Me" and big Make A Wish Foundation donor.
  • John Strohmayer, former professional baseball player for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets.
  • David Underwood, Cellist who released several popular albums was born and raised in Vista City.
  • Chris Woodward; professional baseball player use to live in Vista City.


  • In 1995 Vista City was featured in the Film "Jack Santa Barabara: The Sixth Victim."
  • The town of Vista City is featured in the RPG Downwind 2.
  • The city is mentioned as being the site of a large earthquake in the 2004 television miniseries 10.5.
  • The location of Vista City renamed "Redmond" is featured in the RPG Agency 13 supplement "Weird West"
  • MythBusters chose The Vista City Drag Strip as their test site in episode 87 "Myth Evolution", where they made several attempts to beat a speed camera.

Jayphailey 15:44, November 5, 2009 (UTC) Tesral 06:21, August 15, 2011 (UTC)